The Bihar government has asked the administrations of all 38 districts to ensure that the registration process of temples and mutts is completed by July 15.
Law Minister Pramod Kumar told PTI on Saturday that if temples and mutts fail to get themselves registered with the Bihar State Religious Trust Council (BSRTC) by July 15, the state government will be forced to explore other administrative options. Information regarding all properties belonging to temples, mutts, and trusts have to be uploaded on the website of the BSRTC by the district administrations within 15 days, he said.
The Law Department sent a letter to all district magistrates in this regard on Friday, he said. "Bihar is the first state in the country where the state government has initiated such an exercise. The website of the BSRTC will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after July 15," Kumar said.
"All public temples, mutts, trusts, and Dharamshala in Bihar must be registered with the BSRTC as per the Bihar Hindu Religious Trusts Act, 1950," he added. The decision was taken to protect temple properties from unauthorized claims as large-scale irregularities were found with priests selling and buying assets, the minister said.
There are 2,512 unregistered temples and mutts in the state's 35 districts and they own 4,321.64 acres of land, as per the latest data. "The government will soon start the process of fencing 2,499 registered temples and mutts. They own 18,456.95 acres of land. This is being done to prevent the land parcels from encroachment," Kumar said.
The highest number of unregistered temples and mutts is in the Vaishali district at 438, while Aurangabad is the only district where there are no unregistered temples.